Everything you need to know about the Portuguese language test

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Everything you need to know about the Portuguese language test
Published on 10th September 2020

The CIPLE exam is a certificate of proficiency in Portuguese language, being one of the requirements to become a Portuguese citizen.

This A2 level exam administered by CAPLE (Centro de Avaliação de Português Língua Estrangeira) is usually required for professionals, language citizenship and studying purposes.

If you plan to become a permanent resident or a Portuguese citizen, you must prove that you have basic knowledge of the Portuguese language.


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Who can take the Portuguese language test?

The CIPLE exams can be taken by anyone over 16 and eligible for Portuguese nationality, with a few exceptions. Some people become eligible through marriage, becoming a Portuguese citizen, some through naturalization, and others by investing in a residency-by-investment programme - the Portugal Golden Visa.

Are there exams for students younger than 16?

The exams CIPLE-e (level A2), DEPLE-e (level B1) and DIPLE-e (level B2) are school versions for young people aged between 12 and 15 years. 

There is also an exam (TEJO) for even younger people aged between 8 and 11 years old that assesses levels A1, A2 and B1.


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Do I have to take the CIPLE exam if I am applying for the Portuguese Golden Visa?

Golden Visa applicants do not have to take the CIPLE exam to obtain a residency permit, but they must complete the test in order to become a Portuguese citizen. Learn more about the requirements to apply to the Portuguese Golden Visa programme here.

What is the Portuguese language exam for?

The CIPLE exams, from level A1 to C2, can be taken for educational, social, professional or other purposes.

According to the Portuguese legislation in force, the CIPLE exam (level A2) is the minimum level required to obtain Portuguese nationality.

Curiosity: The word “saudade” is a key emotion word for Portuguese speakers that has no direct equivalent in English. The closest meanings to this term are “longing” or “nostalgia”.

What do CIPLE exams look like?

The exam is 2 hours long and consists of a written and oral part. The grade of the test is combined out of the following parts:

  • Reading + Writing (1h15) | 40% of the grade

During the reading test, applicants are expected to understand basic written texts, usually in the form of informal dialogue, descriptive documents, news or short stories, and to address questions regarding those texts in order to demonstrate they understood them. They are also required to use common phrases and frequent-use expressions to write a short text. Typically this is a short text about yourself or other people, or about what you feel and think.

  • Speaking (10-15min) | 25% of the grade

The oral expression part is an exam done with two candidates at once. This requires applicants to use simple phrases with basic structures, and also interact on topics and images.

  • Listening (30min) | 30% of the grade

Applicants must show an ability to comprehend clear, concise sentences and basic daily communication.


Where can I take the CIPLE exam?

The CIPLE exam is administered by the CAPLE and can be taken around the world at a variety of various CAPLE-certified centres. In international test centres, the dates for the A2 CIPLE exams typically take place in May, July, and November.

Check the next dates for the Portuguese citizenship language exams here.

When can I take the Portuguese language CIPLE exam?

In order to obtain Portuguese citizenship, you must be a resident of Portugal for at least 5 years, and you can take the citizenship language test at any point during this period.

Did you know: Portuguese it is the official language of nine countries: Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Timor-Leste, Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Principe. It is the official language of Macau.

What documents are required for the CIPLE exam?

When you take the exam, you must have your passport, ID card or residence permit with you.

How is the CIPLE exam graded?

Ciple Exam Grades

The CIPLE exam is graded with the following: Fail (0-54%) | Sufficient (55%-69%) | Good (70%-84%) | Very Good (85%-100%)

When will I get my Portuguese language exam’s results?

It takes about 2 weeks to get the CIPLE exam results, which can also be accessed through the CAPLE website.

How to prepare for the Portuguese citizenship language exam?

Portuguese language teaching is supported globally by the Camões Institute of Portugal, which has protocols with different universities around the world. Portuguese language tools are accessible online, aimed at helping candidates pass the citizenship language exam.

How well do you know Portuguese?

Respond to the quiz we’ve prepared for you and discover how well you know Portuguese daily expressions!

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